At the reserve itself a fairly new hide gave us good views over the marsh. A pair of whooper swans not too far away were a good sight at this time of year. Several roe deer, some lapwings, a greylag goose, a nesting redshank and the ubiquitous siskins were a joy to see. I caught my first glimpse this year of swifts as we gathered for lunch. Thankfully there were some picnic tables here. Halfway through lunch we heard the distinctive sound of a male cuckoo.
Our afternoon walk took us around the more northern part of the reserve. Here we stood in awe of some magnificent trees as well as seeing a redstart, more siskins, another dore beetle and a spotted flycatcher.
The next destination was everyone's favourite. Some decided to walk there whilst others needed to take cars. That was their loss since the walkers had good views of some crossbills. The following pictures explain the venue and also you can see how hard it was for me to watch birds and red squirrels from here. It's tough being a leader
The evening was spent in a sort of a ceilidh. We had songs, poems and dances that only a few knew. It was a good laugh for all of us
Saturday May 19 Our final day. We had decided that each could do their own activity today. Victoria and I had last minute admin to complete, whilst others had a trek up the Feshie, a walk to the cake shop, another look at Loch Insh and a farewell visit to the ospreys. There had been good views of a redstart, a distant view of a red throated diver (or loon if you read this in USA) and a close up of the local goldeneyes.
In the evening, we had a short communion service to remember the One who created, sustains and redeemed the whole of the cosmos. The last walk to the loch was another thrill as more otters and several bats were seen. We could hear the otters squealing in apparent delight, as well as the bats on our detectors reminding us that they too were responding to Psalm 150 " Let everything that has breath, Praise the Lord".
A wonderful week, getting to know this part of Britain and strengthening friendships with all who came on our trip
My Challenge total at the end of the week was 461, an added 57 for the week.